In 2020 my main goal focused around consuming (or not consuming) with the #20in2020dressing. The originally goal was to purchase no more than 20 items for my wardrobe for the year.
I felt very confident and in control the first quarter of the year. Then March came and things got shakey in the world, and for everyone. The Pandemic brought with it fear, and uncertainty. We all felt in crisis. To this point that crisis has not resolved and for many is growing.
Humans respond to crises in different ways. When faced with an uncertain, risky situation over which we have no control, we tend to try to do things to feel like we have some control. For some that may show up in buying. This buying is used to meet some of our fundamental psychological needs. These needs include basic physical provisions, yep the toilet paper shortage. However they also include, those “esteem needs” and the feeling of autonomy, being in control of making the decision and action to buy something.
I came to this challenge not as an “expert” but as someone struggling with my own behaviors.
The need for dopamine in times like this is real. This is an excerpt from something I wrote around the No Buy on my Buy Me a Coffee this summer.
"Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure and motivation. Many of us think dopamine comes from the pleasure of purchasing. Actually studies show dopamine is all about unpredictability and anticipation.
That’s right we actually produce more dopamine when we’re not sure if we will receive something pleasurable, but are anticipating its possibility. That’s the pleasure of browsing and shopping. That explains why many of us do it over and over and over again even if we are satisfied with what we already own. "
How Instagram played a role. The community on Instagram was amazing. Connecting and interacting has been a lifeline in a time when it could be easy to feel isolated. I spent/spend a lot of time thinking about how I can create thoughtful content and build that community and engagement. The more I thought about “challenges” the more I thought about clothes.
When 2020 started I knew I wanted to build my social media presence. I was transparent of my desire for opportunities to share in the social media space, and my hope work with brands that shared my values. While learning and sharing about brands - gifting, affiliateships and marketing campaigns presented themselves. At times wanting to create the “best content” taunted me to buy things “worthy of sharing”.
That’s right I was still, and even more so, affected by those same negative FOMO effects we all feel on social media. I didn’t not have the capacity to share better “how to deal with these feelings” content, because I was in them too. Remember I came to this challenge not as an “expert” but as someone struggling with my own behaviors.
The numbers. I purchased 42 items this year.
In November alone I bought 6 items. My love of loungewear sets saw me buying pieces 2 at a time quickly adding up. I thought about all these purchases, researched and mostly purchased from “better” more “sustainable” brands. My wardrobe for at home rightly shifted to meet the needs of the life I've lived this year.
In reflection I can see how hyper focus on one goal and one area, particularly clothing, created additional obstacles to my success. For the coming year I want to share more life encompassing goals. Spreading what I focus on out into what I want from life.
I’m really excited to soon share 21 goals in 2021!